41 ELMS cars ready for 2019

European Le Mans Series has 41 entries for the full 2019 season.

A few more cars in LMP2, a bit less in LMP3 and 50% more GTE cars hints at a very exciting season in all three classes.

DragonSpeed, United Autosports, Panis Barthez Competition, Algarve Pro Racing, G-Drive Racing, IDEC Sport, Duqueine Engineering, Graff, and High Class Racing are back again in LMP2, with a few changes here and there.

Panis Barthez Competition doubles their effort, so they have two cars entered, while Graff downscales to just one car.

High Class Racing from Denmark are back for the third year a in a row, but has swapped the Dallara for a brand new ORECA 07. The ORECA is the preferred car for the FIA WEC teams, and the majority of ELMS entries utilize it too. The best result for the team to date came at their debut, where they finished an overall third at Silverstone in 2017. They have dropped further and further back in the field since, no matter what the team and Dallara did, the car had a tendency of bouncing down the straights, due to the vacuum created underneath the car – a problem for all the Dallara cars, and one they tried to solve last winter – without any luck. So the team goes for the well proven ORECA car, which hopefully will bring them back in the fight for overall podiums. Anders Fjordbach and Dennis Andersen will once again race the car. They will change their car number to #20 in the 2019 season.

Inter Europol Competition #14
Photo: JJ Media

Five new cars have appears in the LMP2 category. RLR MSport has bought an ORECA 07, following their LMP3 Championship win. They have already been out testing, and announced their three regular drivers, but still has to announce their third driver at Silverstone and Le Mans, since Bruno Senna will be driving for Rebellion Racing, so he can’t share the car with John Farano and Arjun Maini in those two races.

Carlin is mostly known from single-seaters, but will now give the LMP2 sport a go. They have gotten hold of a Dallara P217 Gibson – which by the way is the only in the field in 2019. Jack Manchester is the only driver confirmed for the team at this stage. He tested the car a few months ago, where he drove for High Class Racing at Circuit de Catalunya. He has brought that car to Carlin now, and his teammates will be announced in due course.

BHK Motorsport and Cool Racing have both made the jump from LMP3, where both teams have bought an ORECA 07.

Inter Europol Competition has been at the top of LMP3 through the past few seasons, but now goes for an LMP2 effort with Jakub Smiechowski as lead driver. He usual co-driver, Martin Hippe, will however stay in LMP3.

That gives a total of 18 LMP2 cars, that have applied for the full season.

The LMP3 category brings 14 cars on the track, which is a drop of four cars. It’s due to a combination of teams making the jump into LMP2, plus a few going to the Michelin Le Mans Cup.

United Autosports, 360 Racing, Nielsen Racing and Inter Europol Competition will all run two cars each, which is a double up for the three latter teams. The colourful OREGON Team is back in the class once again, just like RLR MSport, Ultimate and M Racing (without the YMR part of the name).

Eurointernational is back as well, but will only run a single car this season.

Spirit of Race Ferrari #55 etc
Photo: JJ Media

The GTE category has really grown. Two Ferrari teams in the shape of Kessel Racing (two cars) and Luzich Racing are new to the series. Team Project 1 Porsche will add an ELMS programme to their FIA WEC programme.

Spirit of Race Ferrari, JMW Motorsport Ferrari, Dempsey-Proton Racing/Proton Competition Porsche and Ebimotors Porsche are back again, for another year in the category.

Unfortunately there will only be Porsche and Ferrari cars in the GTE category, that could do with an Aston Martin, Ford, Corvette or BMW, for a bit of a change. But nine cars can deliver a lot of close racing – just like we saw with just six cars in 2018.

The season starts at Paul Ricard in the south of France on 14 April, with some tests during the week leading up to the race.

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